Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards will not be involved in developing Tehran's part of the world's largest gas field, said a senior gas official on Monday.
"Khatam al-Anbia has pulled out of developing all phases of the South Pars gas field," Mohammad Hassan Mousavizadeh told reporters. Khatam al-Anbia is an engineering and construction arm of the Guards.
US imposed new unilateral sanctions that penalize companies supplying Iran with gasoline and international banking institutions involved with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or its nuclear program.
Foreign banks that do business with key Iranian banks or the Revolutionary Guards will not be allowed access to the U.S. financial system. Global suppliers of gasoline to Iran could also face bans on access to the U.S. banking system, property transactions and foreign exchange in the United States.
The Security Council resolution passed in June blacklisted 15 firms belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Turkey and Brazil successfully brokered a deal with Iran on nuclear talks. And Turkey and Brazil voted against the resolution at the United Nations Security Council, the first time a sanctions vote on Iran has failed to pass unanimously.
Mousavizadeh did not make clear why Khatam al-Anbia pulled out of the project.
"The withdrawal was not because of financial problems of the Guards ... it will not create any problems for the development of the field," the official said.
After Norway's Kvaerner pulled out, development of phases 15 and 16 of South Pars were handed over to Khatam al-Anbia in 2006.
"Foreign firms welcomed"
In May the group also signed an agreement to develop three other phases of South Pars, the world's largest reservoir of gas.
Mousavizadeh said the withdrawal will not delay the project.
"We welcome all international companies, eastern or western. The oil industry cannot be deprived of cooperation," said Mousavizadeh.
"These (Iranian) consortiums have foreign associates ... In the past, foreign companies came as leaders of consortiums such as (France's) Total which was in charge of construction, technology and finance," he said.
"But that model is over now," Mousavizadeh said, indicating that Iranian companies were now leading the projects and sanctions were not affecting the development of South Pars.
"The sanctions are mainly for their companies not ours. We are not worried about sanctions in terms of technology. If we face any problem, we have to plan for it."
"The implementation of the development project will not be delayed ... any company that can not finish the project on time will be replaced," he said.
Related news reports:
Last Mod: 20 Temmuz 2010, 14:59